This high-tech-ish coffin that serenades the corpse during that oh-so-boring after-life period — sparks a couple initial impressions:
• Can’t wait to see what kind of advertisements will be inserted between the tracks, given that advertising seeps into every crack;
• How will DRM handle this perpetual playlist? Given that listeners apparently “license” music instead of “purchase” it, would it be absurd to expect licensing fees to erode ones inheritance?
• The gleam and gloss of the casket is an intriguing aesthetic choice. It resembles a rocket ship more than a pine box IMHO. Are were really that freaked out by the notion of decay that we need to seal up our remains so thoroughly?
• The blond model cements the resemblance to a shiny automobile and of course, reminds me of the mind-blowing pin-up calendar I received as an Xmas gift from Polish coffin manufacturer Linder. Note that autoshow models rarely are depicted as DRIVING the vehicles they present… which makes me REALLY want to see a corpse inside the coffin, embalmed with a grin of satisfaction as it rocks out to the tunes.
It’s probably best not to say too much about “One Day” (2012), a short film by Korean director Duc Nguyen, except that if you like what we like here at the DailyNightmare, you’ll love this very visual, very moving tale. I’ll be on the look out for more by the director and his ShadowPlay Films.
(Male, 50s’) My dad has been gone for over 20 years so I only rarely dream about him but last night, I woke in a cold sweat.
Dad was dead and we had called the company that was going to bury him. We were waiting outside of large building on the sideway. Dad’s body was just lying there on the grass, still in a hospital gown.
A van pulled up and a professionally dressed woman got out. “First I want to congratulate you on your loss.” she said it very matter-of-fact, as if by rote, but it struck me as odd she said “congratulate” instead of “condolence.” But she continued talking her set spiel about how her company would take the best care of Dad. Before I knew it, she had Dad’s body in a body bag. The bag was made of extremely thick black plastic. It reminded me of Kevlar. Before she zipped it up, the woman put a laptop computer in the bag on top of Dad’s torso. “The computer lets your loved one know you cared about them up until the last minute.” She sealed the bag with an air of finality.
“Now, for a small extra charge we can escort your loved one to the van on a rolling cart.” She had already brought out this low wooden cart. I almost agreed but I asked how much the “small extra charge” would be. The woman replied that the cart would cost $150 and it would show everyone how much I cared. I was confused. Why would I spend that much money to have them used a cart to carry my dad’s body less than 20 feet?
I told her that I didn’t believe this was my father any more, just a shell he’d left behind and that I’d rather spend the money on booze for a party I would hold in his honor. Very well, the woman said.
And at that moment, the body in the bag started kicking. It was subtle at first, the legs just curled at the knees. But then the whole body started convulsing. I looked at the woman in case something like this was normal but the expression on her face said it clearly wasn’t.
“Is he still alive in there?” I asked.
The woman nodded but she stood as if paralyzed in fear.
“Then help me get him out.”
“That’s not possible. Those bags are completely sealed. They’re guaranteed.”
I knelt down by my dad’s body. He was thrashing around. Somehow I was then able to see through the heavy plastic fabric of the bag. His eyes were open. He was gasping for breath. But in addition to having limited oxygen in that sealed bag, it was filling up with liquid. He would drown in his own juices within moments.
“Get him out or I will sue you and your company into non-existence.” The woman clutched her clipboard and contorted her face but did nothing to help my father as he died, a second time lying there on the sidewalk.
We all know about tombstones used as markers as to the location of dead bodies, but the Smithsonian tells the tale of bodies themselves used as location markers. Several stories in fact. How does this make sense? In the rarefied conditions of Mt Everest, many climbers have died. Over 200 during the twentieth century, come to find out. The same conditions that made life difficult make decomposition difficult so some of these corpses have endured to become landmarks for further climbers. “Green Boots” is the name of one of these human way-markers. More interesting and poignant tales of the after life of frozen adventurers over here at the Smithsonian blog.
(Male, 40′s) A seriously twisted night of dreams.
I was inside some kind of a cabin or rustic building. There were floor to ceiling picture windows that looked out on trees and a leaf- strewn lawn. I watched a good sized baby raccoon playing in the leaves. Then I noticed that it wasn’t playing so much as clawing at them desperately.
And that’s when I noticed the spider. The spider was immense. Its body alone was at least three feet across. I saw its eyes first. Round black orbs the size of softballs surrounded by thick gray bristles. I started counting them but stopped at six. That’s when I realized it was a spider and that it was really large. The raccoon must have been playing over the spider’s nest or perhaps it camouflaged itself beneath a pile of leaves.
The baby raccoon was squealing, trying to claw its way free. The spider was so large it didn’t need to wrap the raccoon up in webs. The spider simply skewered the raccoon with its long fangs and popped it in its mouth whole. Though this spectacle was horrifying it wasn’t actually terrifying.
I wasn’t terrified until later in the dream. Many other strange and silly things had happened and I found myself outside of the cabin. I was staring at a display case that had been set inside of a tree trunk. There was marvelous but weird Christmas display of vintage toys. Then I realized that I wa standing extremely close to that very same spider’s nest. Its wasn’t large enough to swallow me at one bite but there was still be no contest whatsoever if it decided to kill me.
I began to scream, utterly terrified. I wasn’t calling for help. I wasn’t even thinking to escape. I completely fell apart and collapsed into a terrified panic. It was the most disturbing sensation, one i don’t believe I’ve ever felt. I was utterly powerless.
(Female, 30′s) My friend Mike was in trouble with the cops. I didn’t know what he’d done, but Mike told me they were going to arrest him and kill him.
The cops came to get him, but they had a problem: somehow the chief had been turned into a baby. There were hints that it was done by magic. The cops weren’t sure yet how to reverse the situation, but as soon as they did, they would be taking Mike away.
Meanwhile, another cop handed me the baby cop– who looked just like a regular baby of about 9 months old– too young to walk, but sturdy enough to sit up. He was dressed like a baby, not a cop, in case you are wondering. He asked me to look after the chief for a few minutes, so I held him on my hip with my arm around him, like you do with a baby that size.
As soon as he was out of ear-shot, Mike whispered to me to kill the baby.
“What? Are you serious?” I asked him.
“Dead serious,” he replied. “It’s my life we’re talking about.”
I looked at the baby cop. He really looked like a baby– harmless and not murderous. Still, Mike is a really good friend.
So when the cops weren’t looking, I tried to smother the baby I was holding. I felt just terrible. It wasn’t easy to do however. His face was kind of like a doll’s face, that hard plastic that doesn’t move. I was trying to pinch his nose closed and hold his mouth shut, but the baby was resisting, trying to twist his head away from me and turning bright pink. It was awful. I had to stop. The baby was gasping and wheezing, but Mike wasn’t ready to give up.
“Come on,” he said. “Just kill him. It’s a cop, not a baby.” Mike was watching me and looking really desperate.
Maybe I could feed it something that it would choke on. I looked around. I saw a rubber clown mask sitting on the table that I guess hadn’t been put away from Halloween yet. I handed it to the baby, who started putting it in its mouth and chewing on it, the way babies do. It kinda bit off a piece, so I waited for him to choke. No luck. I glanced over at Mike. I looked back at the baby, and the mask was gone. He’d swallowed the whole thing, coughing a little, but he was fine.
On the table was a bowl of peanuts. I grabbed a handful and held them out to the baby, who took one and put it in its mouth, then another, then another. The baby cop was just downing the peanuts, dozens of them, one right after the other.
The other cop came back and held out his hands to take the baby, just as the baby cop started to cough. “I’ll take the chief now,” he said. Mike was standing behind the cop, shaking his head no.
“It’s okay. I don’t mind watching him,” I said. “Leave him here with me.”
Then the baby started to shake, and then threw up on the ground, enormous puddle of vomit including a bunch of peanuts and a clown mask.
“I guess he’s not feeling so good,” said the cop, shaking his head.
I tried to nudge the clown mask out of the way, hoping that the cop didn’t notice it because it seemed pretty obvious that I was trying to hurt the baby cop, but the other cop seemed pretty distracted by the baby cop and the chaos going on.
“Come on,” he said. “Give me the chief. We gotta go.”
Mike looked at me accusingly. I could have saved his life, but I’d failed.
This little video gem popped up around the web (io9.com, boingboing.net, etc) but I loved it so much I just had to share it here too. Double plus good, eh? It’s the proper length, not too long, not too short. The animation effect is smooth enough. The frame composition is nice to have the face AND an item in the background. And it goes beyond being a simple makeup test. About the only thing I can say of a critical nature is that there aren’t anywhere near enough maggots and that there would have been a great “bloom” of them long before our hero turned to bones. But quibbles. Enjoy!
If you love someone, give him a skull… to add to his skull collection.
This festive token came from Courage My Love, a great vintage and clothing store in Toronto.
A perfect way to say Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
It’s October and officially the time for Haunted House attractions and their evangelical knock-offs known as Hell Houses. A Hell House takes the thrills and chills of a traditional haunted house but dresses them up with a heavily moralistic and pietistic spin. A common feature, I gather, is a lurid depiction of Hell and all the tortures awaiting immoral, impious folks. This phenomenon is nothing new, heck some of the best medieval plays are thinly veiled cautionary tales. But I was charmed to find a post about a midway attraction from the early decades of the 20th C named “Darkness and Dawn” that featured a peek into Hell, presumably for pure amusement not instruction.
The first reference I found came from the blog Anonymous Works that featured a ticket for this attraction plus a snippet of information. They noted the attraction was located in Coney Island, that is burned down in 1903 and was later re-built in Luna Park. The style of the attraction was a cyclorama, a circular panorama intended to give a sense of all encompassing vista.
The blog Gaping Media Hole had several postcards from the attraction’s appearance in different locations, including the promotional card shown above and the shot of the midway that shows the front of the attraction. The locations noted are Revere Beach and Venice Beach.
The best description about the attraction came at a site devoted to the Pan-American Exhibition of 1901 held in Buffalo, NY. If I read the information correctly, “Darkness and Dawn” grossed the highest amount of any of the Midway attractions, scoring 17th overall behind restaurants and concession stands. The attraction started with a “Cabaret du Mort” where patrons drank from skulls and sat at coffin-shaped tables. Likely these beverages were alcoholic since at this time, amusement parks were aimed at young couples and were not particularly family friendly. I found little description of the Hell portion other than the note that while the creator of the attraction was puzzling out a way to get patrons over a lake of fire he came up with the idea for another attraction, “Visit to the Moon.”
These were the details I was able to piece together with a few minutes of research. I’m sharing them here mostly to remind myself to look into it further when I get a chance. Suffice to say, our interest in fear as thrill is sometimes served with a candy coating of instruction, and sometimes that candy coating is quite thin.
If ever there was a vampire whose death we should mourn, it is The Count from Sesame Street. Jerry Nelson, the talented muppeteer who portrayed numerous characters over the years, including the Count, is dead at age 78. For many, this character was the introduction to numeracy as well as to word play (The Count, get it? Get it?) I can’t help but think that this link between vampires and a near obsession with numeration is the subtext for the vampire on that episode of the X-Files that Mulder distracts by spilling a box of matches which the OCD blood-sucker must stop to count before attacking. A stretch? Perhaps. But ponder for a moment the poetic fittingness of numbers which go ever on and on with the notion of immortal life represented by the undead. The Count was a cuddly monster, a near contradiction in terms. Though Jerry Nelson be dead, let the Count live on.
One. One heart-felt tribute. Two…
Remains — apparently human — were recently discovered with a metal stake through the chest suggesting a burial ritual to prevent vampires. Evidently, the practice wasn’t uncommon in Bulgaria some 700 years ago.
What makes this news? Soon these remains will be on display in a Bulgarian museum.
(Male, 30′s) This wasn’t really a nightmare that is it wasn’t a scary dream, that is, I wasn’t scared so much when I was actually IN the dream but once I woke up and started to think about it, it started to creep me out more and more.
I was on a farm, a very familiar place, a farm my aunt and uncle own. And I was gathering firewood. Twigs and large branches, just everything I could find. There didn’t seem to be anyone else around or at least if there were, no one else seemed interested in the bonfire I was going to start and that was fine. I had acquired a pretty impressive stack of fuel, almost as tall as I am and easily 10 or 15 feet in diameter. It was going to be a righteous blaze.
I was getting ready to light the fire when I saw someone I grew up with. She was a friend of the family someone I’ve only partially kept in touch with over the years. She mentioned in passing that she’d had a seance recently and called up the spirits of her mother and my long dead father. I was struck by a wave of what I can only call jealousy. I’ve been going through some rather hard times recently and even at my worst I didn’t think about troubling my dead father for advice or companionship. It seemed offensive that she’d just summon up my dead relatives, basically for fun.
And then it got weird. Or maybe I should say, weirder. Around that time, I realized that I wasn’t speaking with this friend of the family anymore. Maybe I never had been. I was speaking with my mother who also is dead. It wasn’t clear if she had been summoned in the seance, that is, that I had gotten it mixed up who the friend of the family had called up, or whether Mom had just come along on her own or whether I had been speaking to my mother all along. She seemed so distant and mournfull I got really cold and wished I’d started the fire but it seemed so far away. I still had matches in my hands but I forgot how to use them to make fire.
I woke up thinking about what it would be like for someone who was dead to have a seance to summon someone else who was dead. I got creeped out by the thought that maybe in death we’re all separate, alone and that for some folks that would be incredibly difficult.
You’ve heard this advice before but it bears repeating: double check before sending someone to the morgue. This goes for family members, “private undertakers” and heck, probably especially for the folks who work at the morgue.
(Male, 50′s) I dreamt about my dad last night. He’s been dead for over twenty years. I was cleaning in his basement which was a mess when he died. Crap everywhere. All sorts of stuff. Half finished projects, materials to do other jobs around the house, papers spilling out of filing cabinets and a far amount of crap I had no idea what the hell it was. By the way, this is pretty true to what happened when he died. His basement work area was a mess and it took me an awfully long time to clean it up and get the house sold. But I suppose if anyone dies unexpectedly there’s going to be a lot of unfinished business. In the dream I moved a piece of furniture in the basement and I found a doorway in the floor. I never knew THAT was there, I remember thinking in the dream. It was just big enough for me to crawl through. There was another basement underneath the first one. It was a mess too, though just a bit more organized perhaps. Maybe like an over stocked thrift store.
But the weirdest thing was that my dad was there. He was the same age as he was when he died. He was wearing a white t-shirt and work pants. He’d been down there the whole time, I figured. It would take some getting used to, him being alive again. I’d have to introduce him to folks. We didn’t exactly have a bad relationship but we didn’t always get along. I don’t think it was his fault or my fault. We just didn’t get along as well as we could have. He was kind of surprised to see me and not exactly happy either. I was interrupting. I didn’t really want to tell him I’d been clearing out his workshop in the upper basement but he figured out anyway. He was more than irritated. He was angry about what had happened since he died, about how I’d tried to clear his stuff out of the basement.
Next thing I know, he’s got my brother in a death hold, like he’s trying to kill him. A couple things strange with this picture. My old man was NEVER violent. He was always calm and gentle. Very peaceful, really. A real gentleman. But the guy in my dream was murderous and enraged. He was physically destroying my brother, wrestling with him, battering him. And the other strange thing is that I don’t have a brother. Never did. I knew I had to save this guy, this “brother,” so I looked around for something I could use. I found a long bread knife and a sledge hammer. And I hit my dad with the hammer. Only I don’t hit him with the head of the hammer. I use the handle of the hammer which is hardly effective.
Then things get really weird. I tell my dad to relax and imagine all the pieces of paper that were written about him during his entire life. Every document, every record, every report card, every bill, every bank statement, every love letter. Then add to that pile every piece of paper he read or even looked at. Every magazine, every book, every porno picture, every postcard. It would be a huge pile but it still would be a finite amount. Then I told him to imagine selecting out only the most important pages, the ones that really “got” him, whether they were good or bad. Imagine someone who loved him saved all the pages that described him in a favorable light, but that that collection of pages got lost. All that remained was the collection of pages that described his unfavorable characteristics. I told him not to worry. No one who found that other collection of pages, those bad descriptions, no one who found those pages would ever think that they fully described him. They’d know there were good things that weren’t mentioned.
Then I woke up. Strangest thing.
(Male, 20′s) I had this nightmare about an hour after I fell asleep and when I woke up, I seriously considered just not going back to sleep.
I was in a house with a half dozen other guys. It felt like we were in college and we had rented a house together. What a weird house though. It was like a hollowed out tower but a loft had been built inside that stretched up three full stories. The top floor had a floor entirely covered with mattresses, so I guess that was the bed room.
Most of the guys seemed friendly but shallow, always smiling but just skin deep. I didn’t know if they really were dumb or if there was something else underneath that silly happiness.
One of the guys was very disturbed and very disturbing. He gave off “serial killer vibes.” Tall, wore a wide brimmed hat and a black raincoat that always seemed to be wet. On one occasion he was actually dragging in a plastic bag that looked like it could have contained a dead human body.
I accidentally crossed his path. I was using my computer and I was watching a movie / playing a game about a serial killer. It was a horror survival thing. But then I realized that I had somehow hacked into his computer and I was actually seeing what was live on his screen. And worse, he knew I had seen him. He used the camera in my computer to spy on me all the time.
I was freaked. He was coming for me but I figured I’d be safest if I climbed up to the top of lofts, to the bedroom floor. There were two other guys there. They told me not to worry, that the crazy serial killer guy never climbed up the ladder. We started wrestling for some reason and then I discovered gradually that I couldn’t move my arms or legs. One of the guys laughed, “That’s because we drugged you.” I started to foam at the mouth. “We’re going to rape you and then give you to the serial killer so he can chop up the evidence.” I fell over face down on the mattress, paralyzed, my mouth filled with foam. I was unable to scream but eventually I shook myself hard enough that I woke up.
(Female, 40′s) This nightmare was obviously modeled on *Groundhog Day* or *Run Lola Run*, but scarier and bloodier.
I was sitting in a room with my husband and 4 other people. The other people were not real people from my life, just dream characters. We were sitting and talking at a round dining room table. Then there was a knock on the door. One of the men stood up and answered the door. A tall man dressed in a black officer’s uniform came in the room holding a gun and shot him dead, immediately, for no reason we could see. Then the man with the gun herded us out of the room and down the hallway, where there were more soldiers. A woman from our group tried to run away, and she was shot and so was another man. There was a short old man who started laughing then and said to the officer, “See, I told you it would work!” I realized he was on their side. “We don’t need you any more,” said the officer as he pulled the trigger and shot the old man. They led my husband and I out into the forest, and I knew any minute we were both going to die.
Then I was back at the first scene of the dream again, everyone alive and sitting at the table talking. I looked around, worried and nervous, but the other people in the room continued their conversation. I said, “Something terrible is going to happen.” “Why would you say that?” my husband asked. Everyone looked at me, curious. Then I realized that I was the only one of the group who knew what was going to happen next. “Someone is going to knock on the door. Don’t answer it!” But when we heard the knock on the door, the man stood up and answered it anyway– just like before. And was shot by the officer. And the action went on.
Then we were back at the first scene again. This time I knew I had to be more assertive. “If you don’t do what I say, everyone will be dead in 10 minutes.” I pointed at one of the men. “Go lock the door. Don’t let anyone in!” “She’s crazy,” said the old man. “Don’t listen to her!” I told my husband and another guy to hold him down. There was a knock at the door, and the old man kept shouting, “They are in here! They locked the door!” Shots were fired at the door knob and the officer strode into the room…
Then the first scene again. I stood up. I said to my husband, “He’s a spy! Knock him out!” pointing at the old man. I don’t know why, but he believed me. He stood up and grabbed a chair and hit the old man over the head, knocking him out. “Turn off the lights and hide!” But still the knock and the shots and the man with the gun…
The first scene over again. But this time I pointed to the knocked out old man and said to my husband, “Kill him now.” My husband and another man beat in the old man’s head with chair legs. Thud, thud, crunch, crunch. “Everyone grab a chair leg. Arm yourselves. Smash the light bulb. They will be here any minute.” We waited in the dark for them, armed and ready.
One of these times we were going to get it right and survive.
(Male) In this dream, I went with my buddies to one of those “Hell House” productions. They’re basically a haunted house done by a church so everything is heavily slanted toward religion. Compared to some I’ve heard about the one in the nightmare was pretty effective.
One by one, we were let into the first floor of this small factory. Ruined equipment. Strange stains on the walls. Just a bizarre vibe. We all sort of mulled around. On the floor, there were painted outlines like where corpses had been removed by the police. They were everywhere. Some of the lines were strong, like the death was recent and others were faded and scratched out like they’d happened a long time ago. On the walls of the factory, written in brown paint – I don’t know if they were going for dried blood or what – were ominous phrases like: Here another one died without the love of christ in their heart. It was interesting but things got a little dull.
Until all of a sudden a woman screams and collapses. All hell breaks loose. There’s panic and the real sense that nobody really knows what should happen next. A crowd forms. The woman isn’t just dead; she’s fallen apart. Her torso has become separated from her head and arms and legs. Someone in the crowd gathers up her parts and puts them on a gurney after someone else paints her outline on the floor. At that point I realize that this is all part of the show.
One by one, we’re each escorted out of the factory. I ask why and the person says Don’t you want to know what happened to her? Sure why not. It’s all part of the show, right? But as soon as I step out of the room, I’m grabbed roughly and tossed in some kind of a restraint. It’s pitch black, well-padded and there is plenty of air which means someone has really thought this through. It’s scary but not panic inducing. I scream as loud as I can and it’s entirely muffled. I start singing “I wanna be sedated” at the top of my lungs partially for the benefit of my friends who must be right beside me but the novelty runs out when I realize they probably can’t hear me.
I’m being moved somewhere, very quickly and the next thing I know, I’m lying on my back in a hospital room. And this place is creepy as shit. Everything is gray and black. There is some kind of veiled window high up which made me think I was in a basement. The room is done up like a WWI hospital. I’m the only patient. There is absolutely no way that this scene is part of the cheesy hell house I was just in. Standing next to me is a nurse – or at least what I take to be a nurse. She’s got a fright wig mass of hair. She’s long and gaunt and her face is so emaciated it might as well be a skull.
She leans in close to tuck the covers over me and says “I’m sorry, dear. You didn’t make it.”
(Male, 50′s) I had the absolute WORST night of sleep last night. I’d wake up every hour or so, look at the clock then settle back to sleep. One time when I woke up but not fully, I realized I was actually sleeping in the middle of a field. There was the stubble of weeds all brown and brittle because it was late autumn. I tried to move but I found I was half buried in the ground! Then I realized that instead of blankets I was covered in about 4 inches of snow. It was light, powdery snow but it was bitterly cold.
I reached over behind me and pulled on what I thought was a blanket. But it was a suitcase. It was open and the lid fit right over top of me which gave me a little protection from the cold gray wind. All of a sudden my mother was there, even though she’s been dead for a year. She put her hand on my shoulder.
“It’s OK, dear. Lie back down. Get some rest.” she said.
What I thought was a suitcase was actually a coffin. I must have been dead. But instead of fighting it, I settled back to sleep, more of that crummy sleep.